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Philadelphia lawyer (fil-uh-DEL-fee-uh LOI-yuhr) noun
A shrewd lawyer, one who is adept at exploiting legal technicalities.
[From Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.]
"Then Willie Lee nailed me those many years ago. With a woman's way she
said to Bob, `Bob, this man's been here three days and he's complimented
my cooking more than you have in thirty years of marriage.'
The term Philadelphia lawyer can have either positive or negative connotations depending on whether it's being applied to a lawyer who's for or against us. The term can also be applied to a person, not necessarily a lawyer, who is good at manipulating and obfuscating matters. The most famous Philadelphia lawyer was Andrew Hamilton who defended John Peter Zenger, printer and publisher of the New York Weekly Journal, in a 1735 libel case that set the precedent for free speech in America. Here are the fascinating details of this landmark case.
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No one should drive a hard bargain with an artist. -Ludwig Van Beethoven, composer (1770-1827)